Student Treats, my ‘Big Idea’

January 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

A proffessional report I did about 6 months ago outlining how I would market my ‘Big Idea’ Student Treats.

 Summary

This is a report into the marketing strategy of a new online company ‘Student Treats’. This company enables friends and family of students at university to choose personal items to send in a gift wrapped package anywhere in the UK. The items include food, stationary, home ware, toiletries and specialised items. The unique selling point of this company is that the packages are completely personalised and the customer can choose, online, exactly which items will be sent to the student, making it completely personalised.

The company’s demographic is ages 18+ this will appeal to both friends of students but also parents and grandparents too. This does pose one of the main threats to the company; it is likely many of the older demographic will not be familiar with the internet or online shopping, this may mean the company loses some of the custom it expected to have. Other threats lie in the competitive prices of groceries and home ware in supermarkets and also similar websites that sell pre chosen hampers or packages for students. Opportunities for the company will arise in seasonal periods such as Christmas and Easter, also at the beginning of each academic term. With the aid of a PESTEL analysis, the factors in Student Treat’s Macro Environment have been identified. The main being environmental, Student Treats will endeavour to use recyclable materials when gift wrapping and will encourage customers to recycle.

To market Student Treats effectively, it must be advertised in diverse areas, student websites such as UCAS and The Student Room will take priority so students and parents will be informed, it will also be advertised on social networking for the younger segment and magazines for the older segment of the demographic. Promotional discounts will be advertised during seasonal times and at the beginning of each academic term to ensure business and promotion throughout the year. It has also been advised to advertise in the places discussed above.

It has been recommended that Student Treats observe and challenges both financial competition from supermarkets and similar websites to ensure at all times the company is aware of its competitors. Student Treats should also observe and continue research into competitors such as supermarkets and similar websites to themselves.

 Introduction

This report is an internal report and is a marketing plan for the new online service Student Treats; this is an online shopping product which enables personalised packages to be sent to university students by family and friends. The website enables customers to browse a large number of products and select items to put in their package, for example toiletries, kitchen utensils, fancy dress and food items. The website also contains pictures of the gift wrapped products how they will look when they arrive with the recipient. The main selling point of this product is that the packages are completely personalised, customers can pick a minimum of five items from the wide range of products for their package so the student receives exactly what they like. Packages can be sent within two days of ordering and specialised packages can be sent for special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and when a new academic year starts. This report examines the product and its marketing environment to create a marketing strategy to successfully brand and deliver the product online.

 Marketing Mix:

Product Student Treats is an online service allowing friends and family of students to send personalized packages anywhere in the UK. The contents of the package is chosen online and includes food items, home ware, stationary and specialized items such as fresher’s dressing up pieces. The packages can contain whatever the customer chooses and a minimum of five items can be chosen.
Price The prices of the items will aim to compete with those of large supermarkets such as ASDA. Profit will be made on the content of the packages; these will be bought in bulk. Profit will also be made through advertising on the website.
Place The product can be accessed on the internet, the structure of the website will be easy to navigate and will appeal to the wide demographic of 18+. With a large growth in internet shopping, the majority of the demographic will be able to access the product easily.
Promotion With a wide demographic the product will be promoted in a wide range of places. These will include social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to appeal to the 18-40 demographic and in magazines such as Woman and Home to appeal to the 40+ demographic; this will be amplified during seasonal periods. It will mainly be promoted on UCAS sites and The Student Room. Promotional discounts will be advertised at the beginning of each academic term, ensuring business throughout the year. Direct marketing may also be used. Information about discounts and special offers may be sent to customers who have a log in account via email or direct mail. This will be done primarily in seasonal periods and at the beginning of the academic term. 

  Secondary Research

Internet research

Competitors in the market: research into the pricing and branding of similar companies, ensuring Student Treats have competitive prices and innovative branding.

  • thecookskitchen.com
  • unipacks.com
  • theunibox.com
  • unihampers.com

 Supermarket Research:

Competitive prices on products Student Treats are likely to make most profit on: the most competitive financial competition for Student Treats will be supermarkets such as ASDA; this research will enable Student Treats to recognise the pricing of the products that are likely to be most profitable to these.

 Findings

Primary Research

Marketing Mix

Taking information from the four elements analysed in the marketing mix, Student Treats can assess how each element and all the elements combined can promote and deliver the product effectively.

 SWOT analysis

Strengths: The strengths in this business lie in the pricing and the possibilities of expansion into other markets. The company will be buying all its products in bulk from their manufacturers, this will therefore mean buying cheaply and selling at lower prices, competing with similar brands and online sites. As it is mainly selling gifting ideas there are opportunities to expand into personalised gifting for children and also adults, sending personalised gifts to people at work or school. The company could also expand its student site by selling more expensive products such as rice steamers, slow cookers and electrical goods such as portable speakers.

Weaknesses: The main weakness in the company lies in pricing. Bulk buying may insure lower pricing; however Student Treats may find it difficult to maintain these low prices. A way to combat this would be to take some items that d not sell well off the website and eventually just sell products that are most profitable. Another issue would be storage space as for a new company; the amount of product and storage space to buy may be hard to judge, this could mean too much storage space and over spending.

Opportunities: Social and Cultural factors could have a positive impact on Student Treats. Firstly, due to the current economic state, it has been shown that many more are applying to university and higher education, this, for the company, means a higher number of people in their demographic. Another major opportunity is the huge growth in online shopping, with sites such as ebay and Amazon leading the market. Fishbein’s Theory suggests that demographic profile has a large effect on attitudes towards online shopping, research was conducted to assess whether gender, age, job designation, marital status and salary were factors in the amount one shops online. Research proved that people between the ages of 29-39 shopped online more than most (Hashim, 2009), this is a large section of Student Treat’s Demographic, parents and family members of students. The company will cater to seasonal demand, for example adding festive items to the site at Christmas, this will create a higher number of sales and the company will be targeting the older generation who may find it hard deciding what to buy a student.

Threats: The older generation, who will be targeted at seasonal times, may not partake in online shopping, if this proves to be the case the company may consider, in seasonal periods, advertising in news papers such as The Daily Telegraph and magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Woman and Home. A major threat may be that similar sites that sell pre made packages move on to a more personalised approach and may sell their products at a lower price, if this was the case Student Treats may have to decrease the number of products that do not sell. Many of the products sold on Studenttreats.com are products that are sold at supermarkets with very competitive prices; this indicates one of the main threats would be potential customers buying the products from supermarkets. To reduce this, Student Treats, through advertising, would increase emphasis on the gift wrapping and free delivery of the product.

    Recommendations

  • Student Treats must price their items competitively and challenge the prices of supermarkets such as ASDA and TESCO.
  • Student Treats should aim to be perceived as an environmentally friendly company and whenever possible make materials they use recyclable.
  •  For an effective marketing campaign, Student Treats must promote itself on UCAS online and various social networking sites. The company must also effectively promote itself to the older segment of its demographic by advertising in magazines and websites aimed at that demographic.
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